Abd al-Hadi Family

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prominent palestinian arab family.

The Abd al-Hadis were a leading landowning family in the Palestinian districts of Afula, Baysan, Jenin, and Nablus. Already well established in the seventeenth century, in the 1830s the family supported the rule of Ibrahim Pasha. Family members were prominent in Ottoman political, diplomatic, and military circles, including the Ottoman parliament in 1908 and 1914. Ruhi Abd al-Hadi (18851954) served for fifteen years in the Ottoman foreign office, including consular and diplomatic posts in the Balkans, Greece, and Switzerland. Rushdi Abd al-Hadi fought for the Ottoman army in World War I and remained in Turkey to serve the new republic, whereas Raʾuf Abd al-Hadi was taken prisoner by the British forces and then joined Faisal's Arab army to fight the Ottomans.

The best-known member of the al-Hadi family is Awni Abd al-Hadi (18891970), a liberal Palestinian and Arab nationalist who was active in politics and diplomacy. He supported the Arab national movement and worked closely with Faisal in Damascus until his regime fell to the French in 1920. When Faisal's kingdom was destroyed, Awni returned to Palestine and soon became a leading Palestinian political figure. In spring 1930 he participated in the fourth Arab delegation to London, which requested the stoppage of Jewish immigration and land purchases until a national government could be formed. Two years later, Awni established the Hizb al-Istiqlal (Independence Party) as a branch of the pan-Arab party. The party called for complete independence and the strengthening of ties with Arab states. Awni became more militant in the early 1930s, arguing that the Palestinians should focus on opposing the British. Later in his life, Awni held various political posts such as ambassador to Cairo and foreign minister to Amman.

Members of the Abd al-Hadi family had divergent responses to the British mandate in Palestine. Ruhi Abd al-Hadi joined the British administrative service in 1921, initially as a district officer, then rising to become assistant senior secretary in 1944. Majid Abd al-Hadi was a supreme court judge, Amin Abd al-Hadi joined the Supreme Muslim Council in 1929, and Tahsin Abd al-Hadi was mayor of Jenin. Some family members secretly sold their shares of Zirʿin village to the Jewish National Fund in July 1930 despite nationalist opposition to such land sales; other members sold land to the Development Department to resettle landless Arab peasants.

With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the Abd al-Hadis lost substantial agricultural lands in lower Galilee, but retained importantalthough gradually diminishinginfluence in Jenin and Nablus during Jordanian rule. Awni Abd alHadi joined the Jordanian diplomatic corps, serving as ambassador to Egypt.


Muslih, Muhammad Y. The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

Porath, Yehoshua. The Emergence of the PalestinianArab Nationalist Movement: 19181929. London: Frank Cass, 1974.

Porath, Yehoshua. The PalestinianArab National Movement: 19291939. London and Totowa, NJ: Frank Cass, 1977.

Stein, Kenneth W. The Land Question in Palestine, 19171939. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.

Ann M. Lesch